20 Books of Summer #3 & #4: Young protagonists

What a Way To Go by Julia Forster I couldn’t resist the cover of this book – it was the ghetto blaster (as we called boomboxes then) on the front and cassette tapes on the back that took me right back to around 1979 when I bought one with my holiday job pay from the Read More

Book Group Report: Medicine

Our topic for discussion this month was medicine. Two months ago, when we were choosing which medical book to read, the nominations were varied – from real surgeons and psychiatrists or psychologists to fictional surgeons and psychiatrists or psychologists… Saturday – Ian McEwan Outbreak by Robin Cook    Not a red hair in sight – Read More

High School Horror in the late 1980s

My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix Grady Hendrix’s novel Horrorstör (reviewed here) was a triumph of style – a straight-forward but enjoyable horror story presented as a parody of an IKEA catalogue. This was such a brilliant conceit, it made my list of books of the year in 2014 for its amazing design. What would Read More

Kerching! It’s so 1980s

Money by Martin Amis (republished into its original place in my blog time-line from the lost post archive) So, earlier in the summer we were picking a book to discuss at book group and someone suggested The Pregnant Widow by Martin Amis. He’s an author we’ve not read in the group before but that title didn’t appeal; individually we’d Read More

Nannying in the 1980s

Love, Nina: Despatches from Family Life by Nina Stibbe This volume of memoirs in the form of letters was the perfect reading for me in the past couple of weeks, when life has been so hectic. I’ve just finished a couple of weeks of full-time cover teaching, and then with all the usual Christmas events from Read More

Crimes & Casinos, Miami & Puerto Rico – R.I.P. Elmore Leonard

I was sad to hear of the death of Elmore Leonard a week and a half ago. He was 87, and had suffered a stroke earlier in the month. He was one of my favourite crime writers. I liked him particularly for his ability to make me laugh and of course for his distinct style Read More

Grim but gripping …

Once Upon a Time in England by Helen Walsh This book was totally gripping from the outset – the life experienced by the working class family within is truly grim; an unremitingly bleak existence, reinforced by a series of poor decisions and having to live with the consequences. Each time they pick themselves up, something Read More